Scott McLaughlin was more than three tenths faster than his rivals in Practice 1 for the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend.
McLaughlin’s best of 1:49.7988s was around a second faster than anyone else had done for more than half of the 30-minute session before Tim Slade improved late in the piece to go 0.3594s slower.
Four of the Tickford-run Mustangs followed, headed up by Lee Holdsworth and then wildcard Thomas Randle, while Shane van Gisbergen was the Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s best in 12th.
McLaughlin clocked what would be the fastest lap during his second run in the #17 Shell V-Power Mustang, which put him 1.2530s clear of Randle, the previous pace-setter, at the time.
Chaz Mostert got within a second of the championship leader a few minutes later, before Slade jumped from 13th to second in the 28th minute with a 1:50.1582s in the #14 Freightliner ZB Commodore.
“We chucked some (good) tyres on in the end there and it wasn’t a fantastic lap,” cautioned Slade.
“I don’t take massive confidence out of it.”
Holdsworth jumped from outside the top 10 to third in the #5 The Bottle-O Mustang shortly after, less than two hundredths shy of Slade’s time.
Randle also improved in the final minute to be 0.5272s adrift of the top in the #66 Scandia Mustang, just ahead of team-mates Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) and Will Davison (#23 Milwaukee Mustang).
David Reynolds was seventh in the #9 Penrite ZB Commodore, ahead of rookie Macauley Jones (#21 CoolDrive ZB Commodore), Mostert (#55 Supercheap Auto Mustang), and James Courtney (#22 Mobil 1 Mega ZB Commodore).
Van Gisbergen was 12th after spending a long time in the garage, during which time the front bar on the #97 ZB Commodore was changed due to splitter flap at the end of the main straight.
Several others had dramas in trying to negotiate the succession of right-handers at the end of the second half of the lap.
Among those to go off were Reynolds, Jones, Rick Kelly (#15 Castrol Altima), Courtney in spectacular fashion, Fabian Coulthard, Scott Pye (#2 Walkinshaw Andretti United ZB Commodore), James Golding (#34 Boost Mobile ZB Commodore), and Davison.
Brad Jones Racing wildcard Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics ZB Commodore), who drove with his Pirtek Enduro Cup team Matt Stone Racing in the Additional Driver session, was 13th in Practice 1, one position ahead of Coulthard (#12 DJR Team Penske Mustang).
Jamie Whincup (#88 ZB Commodore) was back in 19th in the second of the Triple Eight Race Engineering entries.
Practice 2 for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field starts at 1540 local time/1610 AEST.
Results: Practice 1
|1||17||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Scott McLaughlin||Ford Mustang GT||1:49.7988|
|2||14||Freightliner Racing||Tim Slade||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.1582||0:00.3594|
|3||5||The Bottle-O Racing Team||Lee Holdsworth||Ford Mustang GT||1:50.1772||0:00.3784|
|4||66||Scandia Racing||Thomas Randle||Ford Mustang GT||1:50.3260||0:00.5272|
|5||6||Monster Energy Racing Team||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT||1:50.3445||0:00.5457|
|6||23||Milwaukee Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT||1:50.4143||0:00.6155|
|7||9||Penrite Racing||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.4908||0:00.6920|
|8||21||Team CoolDrive||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.5501||0:00.7513|
|9||55||Supercheap Auto Racing||Chaz Mostert||Ford Mustang GT||1:50.7772||0:00.9784|
|10||22||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||James Courtney||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.8955||0:01.0967|
|11||2||Mobil 1 MEGA Racing||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB||1:50.9317||0:01.1329|
|12||97||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.2295||0:01.4307|
|13||4||SCT Logistics Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.2560||0:01.4572|
|14||12||Shell V-Power Racing Team||Fabian Coulthard||Ford Mustang GT||1:51.3143||0:01.5155|
|15||8||X Convenience Mobil Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.3690||0:01.5702|
|16||15||Castrol Racing||Rick Kelly||Nissan Altima||1:51.4874||0:01.6886|
|17||99||Penrite Racing||Anton De Pasquale||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.6481||0:01.8493|
|18||78||Team Harvey Norman||Simona De Silvestro||Nissan Altima||1:51.7151||0:01.9163|
|19||88||Red Bull Holden Racing Team||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.8441||0:02.0453|
|20||35||Unit Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.9622||0:02.1634|
|21||18||Irwin Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB||1:51.9758||0:02.1770|
|22||7||Plus Fitness Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Nissan Altima||1:51.9835||0:02.1847|
|23||33||Boost Mobile Racing||Richie Stanaway||Holden Commodore ZB||1:52.2182||0:02.4194|
|24||3||RABBLE.club Racing||Garry Jacobson||Nissan Altima||1:52.4040||0:02.6052|
|25||19||Truck Assist TEKNO Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Holden Commodore ZB||1:52.5990||0:02.8002|
|26||34||Boost Mobile Racing||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB||1:52.6449||0:02.8461|